Badlands #1

I didn’t come back.  Something stayed on in the far.  Apart from the wires and the noise, “connections” and net-works.  Somewhere away.  No mistaking it was I who drove home, unlocked doors, and arrived.  I who functioned and served as a placeholder.  Yet I’d stayed in the cold and remote, the far reaches.  Away.  I haven’t returned, though something sure did – no one noticed but me.

It’s alright, there is room.  Space to breathe and to think, space to listen.  Apace like beyond or forgotten, the lost, misremembered – like that I was left or retained.  On I wandered, as wondered; I pondered and roamed, but I did not come back, that I know, not this time – too much risk without safety to “be here.”  I don’t want to – not here – no where, no now, no sure thing – not “that.”  I’d like to be other, undone, in the wild, separate, immersed, and another.  Not me.  Not this.  Not here.  Not now.

So I stayed and I didn’t come back.  No one noticed.  Alone, I began to combine and consider.  Correspond and co-question the side of the world the world was on.  Difference side, or an other, not a me or an ours or an us.  Just a world.  I renamed there, all one, even while I returned and took care of.  I escaped.  Not me, only them, not I, just the others, who cares? – perhaps no one, not me and not them and not elsewise.  I am gone.  Gone unnoticed.  It’s okay, for who cares?  As long as I’m holding my place, and fulfilling – a father, a worker, a lover, a friend – no one cares if I never came back from the forest and sky or the wind and the cold.  The dark places.  No one knows, no one cares, nor do I, just I know, that is all, that I didn’t.  Return.  Rejoin or sync up.  No, not I.  I’ve stayed far even while it’s my body or figure that fills up the places and manners I was.  I am not.  And it’s fine, doesn’t matter, why would it?

I blink with the breeze o’er the road.  Lodged in swift crannies and caves, dropped in canyons, and spread through the clouds.  Now I’m rain, it’s okay, now it’s snow, no one knows, no one cares, reconsidered: as long as someone is caring for them (or apparent) no one cares where the person has gone – that including – the spaces the person has gone – no one knows neither cares, nowhere for nothing – simply not – sweetened absence – of care or concern – just a void, a caesura, an erasure, amiss, like palimpsest or scrimshaw or paste, and a cut.

I am cut.  Paste anything there.  They won’t notice, not them or there or any thing or one.  There’s no matter, no wave, energy or particle, there is nothing – that’s any and every for them – what they need, that is all, what they need.  What they want.  I’m not here, for

I didn’t come back, from the cold, the remote, and the silence, the spaces, the less.  It’s okay, no one noted, but me, for I functioned, appeared, held a place – however emptied – of me.  It’s okay.  I am cut.  Paste anything here.

I have not returned.  No one knows this (but you now, and I – keep a secret).  It’s an absence I will not reveal.

There is wind.

There is no one.

“It is hard to seize what is” -Laurie Sheck

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Without Criteria: Laramie

Picasso - don quixote

Laramie shoots and kills.  Laramie loves and captures.  Catches and release.

Riding along the ridge, singing, swearing, singing.  This journey’s a long time coming.

The need to get away.  For autonomy.  To be self-called.  To begin after all of this and that.  Recall and resound.  Taking stock.

He’s always been this way – a little undomesticated.  A touch of untamed wild.  Never finding a place.  Never quite belonging.

Boundaries forged by relation and response (-ability) all forwarding to limits, cages, toward constraints or restraint he can not abide.  Each vocation or program, discipline or field, replete with vocabularies and methods, praxis and behaviors misfitting to degrees he finds it hard to accept.  A ‘lone wolf,’ ‘self-made man,’ a patent failure or ‘with no name.’  Renegade?

He rides.  The shuffling flanks feel heavy under him, providing awareness of his own weight.  Considers Alias, and thinks how both do not belong.  How adamant and vehement he himself cries freedom, how Alias skinnies and wriggles past the gates.

How neither could ever be said to have ‘succeeded.’  How both (in his mind) would never have failed.  How neither and both are alike.  Neither and both are so different.  Neither and both alive.

Rides on.  Too old for all this but he’ll camp out tonight.  To prove to himself that he’s old both and wild.  Yet.  That he aches to be tamed and untame.  Yearns to belong, independently.  The want for a self that is selfless.  The urge for a course without banks.

Laramie wants to be world, alive.  Wants to be fertile and virile, viral, untrained.  Wants claimed and confessed-for, wants derided and praised.

“We’re the renegade scholars,” sometimes he would say, “learning the lingo and undoing like acid its heart.”  “We master and tell of its weakness, expert novitiates in all.”  “We unwind and unravel.  Travel and root.  We are rhizome,” he says, “drawn out from anywhere.  We absorb and vituperate, ingest and expel.”

He rides, and he rides, in love with the muscling flanks.  The wind tearing through hair and beard, blistering cheeks, stinging his eyes.  There are tears.  Laramie swallows.  The sorrow and joy are one.  Life and its death copulating…heaving and sweating, oily and dry to the bone.  He is brittle.

Laramie is needing to stop, and he feels it.  His body is singing – pain tells.  Time is ripe.  There’s an end.  It is coming.  Unrolling his pack…here it goes…

The Dual Activity of the Properties of Erosion

Having traveled 2000 miles: Wichita – to – Carlsbad, NM – to – Guadalupe Mountains Nat’l Park – to – Presidio, TX – to – Big Bend National Park – to – Wichita in the past few days, I was privy to the glories of erosion.  What it builds, what it wears away.

My 10-year-old is studying erosion in 4th grade and reminds me that the current definition is simply the movement of material.  What dwindles somewhere accretes in another…

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and leaves or creates (absence or presence of absence?) some glorious ruins (or productions)…

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In an accidental synchrony, we traveled the paths of a favorite album of mine – This Will Destroy You – This Will Destroy You, and the following clip has long moved me, perhaps as much as any music ever has…

…ever reminding me of how I’d like my living dying to go…the movements and decaying – its constructions – the thickened gradual swelling of the deep good of being alive, punctuated by weighty whiles of thriving and ecstasy, momentous significants of loss or gain, as materials move and their relations alter / evolve / generate and decompose.  Its insistence and tocking inevitability.  The (hopefully) delta-like depositing of the full lot, spreading throughout, in its end…

Here’s to our living-dying onlyness…and wishes toward beautiful erosion.

 

Short essay on Venice Biennale experience – Summer 2015

Glimpse of Lightness : Venice Biennale 2015

Maggi - Drawing Machine

Marco Maggi – “Drawing Machine” – Uruguay Pavilion, Venice 2015

            How does art “happen”?  What is a work of art in an age of reproduction?  Who, where, what, and how are we in relation to composition, construction, collage, creation, craft… encountering “art” as a strange “zone of indistinction”, an “undecidable”[1], perhaps an interference, or intervention – at the renowned Venice Biennale 2015?  What lightness might we glimpse in such immersion, inundation, veritable floundering and bewilderment among “works of art” – the touted greats within the most prestigious cultural institution in the world.[2]

In a deep cleft of Agamben and Heidegger, physical and mental exhaustion, a set of European Graduate School students (which gratefully included myself) set out to engage “art” in the context of the famed Venice Biennale Exposition, assigned to look for “glimpses of lightness” – something “having little weight…alleviating…demonstrating ease or agility…mirth, levity…and a graceful slenderness”[3] OR – “lit brightly, illuminated, illuminating”.[4]  The day began hefty and hot with prospects of 89 national participations, 44 collateral events in the Giardina della Biennale plus an additional “more than 136 artists from 53 countries” at the Arsenale.[5]  We set out.

The 2015 Biennale was filled with many ambiguous / ambivalent / open works that, depending on the perspective of the observer, might be engaged with levity, mirth and playfulness or burdened by art-extraneous political, moral and conceptual communiqués and paraphernalia.  I found myself wondering if art was happening in such a context – a deluge and glut of politics, morality and economy.  I began looking at things curious if messages could be untangled, read past and through, passed by: emotional, commercial, personal, national, site-specific – querying – “what here is ‘being raised, set forth, set up’? (Heidegger).  ARTing: can we come to art through artists and artworks and exhibitions?[6]

Considering art as Riss – rift – an outline, sketch, drawing and marking setting into relief a “moment” or “space,” a new relation hard to distinguish, perhaps undecidable, opportunities of encounter with encountering-itself, being – itself – being, in relation to.  A passage.  Something beyond good and evil (ethics); beyond division, calculation and measure of perception (subject/object, this/that, here/there) (ontology); beyond narcissism (me/you, us/them, him/her) (epistemology); beyond laws and institutions and individuality (ours/theirs, who/what, when/where) and so on… Toward activation – activity + occurrence, an awareness, a-tension at/of/with/in NOW? [ultimate zone of indistinction and undecidability].  Play?  Lightness?  Resisting the urge to pronounce, proclaim, propose; swerving past strife, through strife – holding open? – Art…as Being…an open question?  Some undoing in its doing, some common toggling call to a present, re-present, encounter?  Are we able to tear up a world in an activity of mending, assembling and combining it (rift)?  To set up a world in an activity of revealing (veiling/unveiling) as a poet might do (oscillating signs) with a semiotic semantic, ex-hibit-ing, exposing, en-light-ening – making lines instead of following them, opening spaces rather than closing, becoming in difference to became?  I wondered what might result if we scrambled the sites/sights on some randomizing algorithm of names/nations/pavilions or scrambled the labels and ‘statements’ according to same.  To undo in order to Art.

So what rends?  What can tear through the amalgams and overlays we bring to each encounter with one another, with the world?  What might cause a rift to occur in my own perceptions, predispositions, cares, concerns, propensities?  Where do the potentialities lie?  What will bring me to the open?  Below are a few works I encountered in the heat and dust and exhaustion of 2015’s 56th La Biennale di Venezia that re-oriented me, turned me into at least two sides of a chasm, illuminated a seeing-space, a being-space for me – provided me with glimpses of lightness.

Blind Spot.”[7] The first work that woke me, intervened, destabilized and shifted my course was Blind Spot by Mykola Ridnyi (Ukraine) located in the Arsenale.  Working from the ophthalmologic  analysis of scotomas – areas of partial alterations or degenerated acuity in our normal fields of vision that are surrounded by normative and well-preserved views.  We all have them, aspects we never see clearly – biologically, culturally, psychologically and personally.  Scotoma is not a condition to be overcome, but to be aware of.  As I engaged the Biennale, I recognized that artists, nations, participants and audiences all live their existences with “Blind Spots.”  The effortful work to account for them only serves to expose further areas where “things disappear on us.”[8]  Accompanied by C-prints painted with various exemplars of scotomic affect, Ridnyi’s installation ripped an awareness into me that opened my emotional reactivity to nation-state pavilions and exhibits, artists compromises to culture and fame, my own dear lack of self-critique and clear-sightedness, and the ever open question of how and what we engage in our being-alive, relating, and “reading”/”seeing” the world.

Not far beyond “Blind Spot” resided Ricardo Brey’s “Every life is a fire (2009-ongoing,.”[9] intricate, redolent boxes opening out in glass cases – the layers, complex details and labyrinthine qualities of our coagulating, webbing construction of idiosyncratic interpretations of the world.  “The box is our head,” he notes, “the box is the cave… is the attic… is the memory and the world.” The boxes are an attempt to represent the intensifications of internal modes and their relationships in spatial terms; and what results is a “hermeneutics of the soul” that creates “a topography of the mind.” Articulated like a labyrinth or mandala, Brey considers the box-mind compound the “most metaphysical project” he has attempted, nothing less than “a workshop to produce the invisible” or “the countless” that is also “the way out and the jail.”[10]  The attempt to articulate the inarticulable, visualize the unseen, expose blind spots through elaborate archiving and representation and obsessive care and attention also ripped into my own desperate strivings for self-awareness, knowledge and authenticity.

And finally, yet in retrospect to my Biennale’d day, an early return…Marco Maggi’s Global Myopia (Pencil + Paper) (Uruguay Pavilion) and, particularly, his piece at the entrance to the show: “Drawing Machine (nine possible starting points)” (image above).  Options.  Beginnings.  Openings.  In what direction will the “drawing” move?  From what emphases and characteristics?  What intricacies of our histories and culture, memories and desires, experiences and imaginations will direct the ensuing mark of us in relation to our world, ourselves, our perception, one another?  Maggi reports, powerfully, that “ the only subject of Global Myopia is drawing.”[11]  Lines begun – a movement, a glance, a word, a new distinction.  Rifts and rendings, gaps and site-specificities, we inscribe – blindly, collectively, collaboratively, actively and in elaborate idiosyncratic ways both laden and illuminating – glimpses of lightness outlining our crossings, traversals and conduct through All the World’s Futures.[12]

References

Agamben, G. (1993). The coming community. Minneapolis : Minneapolis :

Agamben, G. (1998). Homo sacer. Sovereign power and bare life. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford, Calif. :

Agamben, G. (1999a). Potentialities : collected essays in philosophy. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford, Calif. :

Agamben, G. (1999b). The man without content. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1999.

Agamben, G. (2004). The open man and animal. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford, Calif. :

Blind spot – Mykola Ridnyi. (2015). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.mykolaridnyi.com/works/blind-spot

Every life is a fire. (2015). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.ricardobrey.com/every-life-is-a-fire.html

Every life is a fire. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.ricardobrey.com/every-life-is-a-fire.html

Heidegger, M., & Heidegger, M. (1977). Basic writings from Being and time (1927) to The task of thinking (1964) (1st ed). New York: Harper & Row.

Heimo Zobernig at the Austrian Pavilion, Venice Biennale / MOUSSE CONTEMPORARY ART MAGAZINE. (2015, May 13). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://moussemagazine.it/zobernig-austrian-venice-2015/

La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Arte 2015: All The World’s Futures. (2015). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/news/05-03.html

La Biennale di Venezia – History of the Venice Biennale. (2015). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.labiennale.org/en/biennale/history/

La Biennale di Venezia – Home. (2015). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.labiennale.org/en/Home.html

lightness, n.1. (2015). OED Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.proxy.wichita.edu/view/Entry/108230

lightness, n.2. (2015). OED Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.proxy.wichita.edu/view/Entry/108231

Welcome. (2015). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from http://www.marcomaggi.org/welcome/

 

[1] (Agamben, 1993, 1999a, 1999b)

[2] (“La Biennale di Venezia – History of the Venice Biennale,” 2015)

[3] (“lightness, n.1,” 2015)

[4] (“lightness, n.2,” 2015)

[5] (“La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Arte 2015: All The World’s Futures,” 2015)

[6] (Heidegger & Heidegger, 1977)

[7] (“Blind spot – Mykola Ridnyi,” 2015)

[8] (“Blind spot – Mykola Ridnyi,” 2015)

[9] (“Welcome,” 2015)

[10] (“Every life is a fire,” 2015)

[11] (“Welcome,” 2015)

[12] (“La Biennale di Venezia – Biennale Arte 2015: All The World’s Futures,” 2015)

Antic Ontology

kockelman

But I do know something of being alive as a human being.

44 years of living.  Sometimes awake, sometimes sleeping.

Often bruised in/with activity.  “Alive” nonetheless, operative.

>

And that is that: there always seems to be a “you.”

An othering.  For humans.  Nature, world, self.

I-you=we.

And that is that.  Buber perhaps, correct: Being is relation,

(or vice-versa?) for anything (anyone – could we ever get down to that)

exists, stands-forth/out, becomes, in so far…insofar as – “it relates.”

>

The gist= A we.  Wonder.  More-than is constitutive.

We are, and are made of/from/with more than what we “are.”

Being/beings (something needs troubled here) Here.

>

If I characterized…TODAY = noise & speed.

“What calls for thinking?”  “What calls thinking?”  “What is called thinking?”

Slowness.  Quiet.  Almost silence.  In praise of.  Praise?

To?  For? What?

Relation.  A we.  Equals.

And then…more than…= “become.”

>

Behold.  Arrive.  Appear.  A we.

>

Reticence.

>

Hallie.  Tristan.  Aidan.  Ida.  Oliver.

World – air, plants, animals, motion…

how else do I know?  How else do I know that I am?

>

only

in relation to

with

relation

>

RE(lation)ALITY.

On a Personal Note

Prologue:  I do not know what I am about to write.

saas-fee

Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

In less than one week I will be in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in the midst of a thousand novel things.  I am going as a participant in the European Graduate School’s PhD in Philosophy, Art & Critical Thought program, studying with 15 or so others, guided by Simon Critchley, Giorgio Agamben, Christopher Fynsk, Boris Groys, and Luc Tuymans, et. al.

For weeks now, any spare moment has loomed like this:

7.25.15

working my way through the bulk of Agamben’s corpus, Heidegger, Hegel, Kojeve, Derrida, Brecht, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Deleuze & Guattari, Spinoza, and columns of secondary literature.  I do not know what to expect.  I expect small seminars of conversation and dialogue, led by persons tattooed on my arms – persons I “assume”? “understand”? are paid to think – employment I would SO love to land – to experience & think, inquire & think, research & think, & report.  Perhaps?  So we’ll gather for 6 to 9 hours a day (or more) – discuss principal thoughts/texts/events of human thought-about human thought-about human being-experience…and…?

Walk in the mountains – Nietzsche claimed his thoughts would only be possible up here.  Sleep.  Read.  Think.  I really don’t know.

It’s been the first time in my life (I can remember) in which the hours of reading I’ve poured into this have actually eventuated in headaches.  Distinguishing terminologies and concepts.  Following trails of thought.  Engaging them.  Responding to them.  Add to the above William James, A.N. Whitehead, Eugene Gendlin, Mikhail Bakhtin, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Steven Shaviro, Brian Massumi, Gilbert Simondon – my own favorite philosophical corpus – to construct conversations, critiques, and alternate points of view through.  To think-through-with.  And still with thousands of pages to go.

EGS

Here the classrooms and buildings.  Mountains and trees.  Novel, novel, novel.  The minds I’ll encounter.  Novel.  From all over the world, perspectives, perceptions, reflections, opinions, resources, references, practices, habits…novel.

And mostly (always?) I still simply want to write.

As my mindbody gestates and swells with new jargon and lingo, concepts and theories, voices and styles, there are many moments of cluster, confusion, conjoining and merger.  Thoughts disarrayed.  Set loose from their sources and synapted to knots and knobs of my own kernels of thought & experience.  A pregnant field.  A chaos.  I will need to walk.  Need to sleep.  i lose my bearings.

Language.   Other moments it feels everyone is considering the same things in different voices.  The same ‘truths’ in variant language-games.  The same purposes.  Not always.  But those hunting and haunting human experience – with that strange zeal and compulsion, near-desperation of finding-something-out, making-sensequesting meaningful presence…from diverse times and cultures, languages and histories, feelings and vocabularies…

I sense similarities, ties.  Tangles and diversions.

“the chief error in philosophy is overstatement”

-Alfred North Whitehead-

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

is what I have written at the beginning of my notebook for the journey.  What are you talking about & how? written just underneath.  Wittgenstein.  Whitehead.  Bakhtin.  James.  What we experience together alters everything we bring.  When we dialogue occasions occur, events happen.  When we encounter and meet.  Interaction.  Action and process take place, differentiated, by Other.  

From another pile: Knausgaard, Mary Ruefle, William Bronk, Wallace Stevens.  Ivan Vladislavic, Ben Marcus, David Foster Wallace, Joshua Cohen.  In my readings – Valery, Rilke, Holderlin.  Blanchot, Kafka, Beckett.

Voices.  Styles.  Experiences.  Occasions.

Interpretations.  Experiences.  Thoughts.  Language.

EGS crest

What I expect is that “something is doing.”  Activity is going-on.  We/I will be being-with and being-in.  There will be convergence, dissonance, emergence and change.

It will be a variant “me” coming “home.”

http://panocam.skiline.cc/saas-fee/laengfluh

(live webcam of area)

To the mountains then.  To think.  To learn.  To live.  To be-with and be-in.

To become.